Oil prices plunge

29 May, 2020 12:00 AM printer

MELBOURNE /SINGAPORE: Oil prices plunged on Thursday after U.S. industry data showed a surprise steep build in crude oil inventories, dampening hopes of a smooth recovery in demand as some countries begin to ease their way out of coronavirus lockdowns.

The decline in oil benchmarks extended losses from Wednesday over uncertainty about Russia’s commitment to deep output cuts ahead of a June 9 meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, a grouping dubbed OPEC+, report agencies.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down 3%, or 98 cents, at $31.83 a barrel at 0709 GMT. The U.S. futures slipped earlier as much as 5% to a low of $31.14.

Brent crude futures were down 2%, or 71 cents at $34.03 per barrel, after dropping to as low as $33.63.

“The rise in API (American Petroleum Institute) inventories was very much unexpected and means this evening’s U.S. EIA crude inventories will be monitored closely.